Our mountain bikes have been neatly folded in their bags and hidden away in the quarter berth since our ride from Shelter Bay in Panama. It had been three months since we last used them and we were a little worried how our legs and bottoms were going to hold up.
The ride to the dinghy dock was the first time with bikes and new dinghy. It works great. Much more stable than the old dinghy where Heidi had to squat on the side. And, of course, there being no swell and no waves here makes it all so much more fun.
The first “get back in to the swing of it” tour was over a tiny (hundred meter high) pass to a beach on the Pacific coast. Only six kilometers to the sea. Easy! On the way back, we thought we would take the off-road track across the hill. This route was also only six kilometers but crossed a two hundred meter high ridge, had sections of up to 50% and was all mud. And through the jungle with lianas trying to grab your bike. It was “challenging” especially when both wheels are so full of mud that neither would turn.
When we eventually exited the forest we received a telling off from a lady because we had just descended through her private nature reserve. We apologized.
Just as we entered civilization, Heidi’s phone rang so we stopped. Neill scraped dirt off the bikes and drank beer given to him by the locals stood outside a bar. Later we discovered that this part of town is the “dangerous bit” but obviously we looked too filthy to be worth robbing.
The next trip was much more civilized. We cycled the forty kilometers to the seaside resort of Canoa. The route was almost entirely on a cycle path and the only hill climbing was across the long bridge which took us across the estuary. Neill got a puncture – our first in Ecuador.
In Canoa we found a restaurant for lunch and chatted to the locals on the neighboring table. He emigrated to the USA long ago but the two ladies were from Bahia. All were amazed to hear about our adventures and warned us that when we go further inland it is “freezing”.
So now the training is finished. Tomorrow we plan on setting off for Quito. Four hundred kilometers and four thousand meters of climbing. I hope my cycling shoes last that long; the muddy jungle was not kind to them.